Michael Karnjanaprakorn: ‘You should be a lifelong learner.’
Michael Karnanaprakorn founded Skillshare because he believes traditional education doesn't facilitate learning.
Before Michael Karnjanaprakorn even took the KANEKO stage for the last day of Big Omaha 2012, conference-goers were treated to a video explaining his company Skillshare. Highlighted by clips of kids learning about electricity and adults learning about music, the video claimed: "The future belongs to the curious."
The 2012 TED fellow said that everyone believes in education, but everyone has their own ideas about how to make it better. Skillshare, a site that aims to let anyone learn anything anywhere, is Karnjanaprakorn's solution.
Learning is not going down a path specified by another
"Education is no longer about learning," Karnjanaprakorn said. He went on to define modern education as leading people down predetermined paths, putting square pegs into round holes. Said Karnjanaprakorn: "I woke up one day in college and kinda felt like I got duped."
Something intimidating can become fascinating
If you need to learn something in order to do something else (say, learn game theory, which you totally didn't understand in college, in order to become a world-class poker player), Karnjanaprakorn suggested that a drudge topic becomes enjoyable.
Everyone can be a student
Karnjanaprakorn wanted to rebuild education, so he attempted to reinvent what a classroom looks like and reimagine who a student is. "The pinnacle of education today is getting into college," he said. "Unfortunately, that means most people stop learning after they graduate. You should be a lifelong learner! Learn everything you want to learn."
Don't modernize a broken system
Skillshare keeps its classes offline. For now. "We'll move online eventually," Karnjanaprakorn confirmed. But he wanted to emphasize first that community is one of the most important aspects of effective learning. "Most online learning now is just taking the broken model (lectures on video) and simply putting it online."
Make sure you're studying applicable skills
Memorizing. Exams. Lecturing. Karnjanaprakorn doesn't want any of that to be a part of a Skillshare class. He advocated learning by doing, by making mistakes and by making things. "All our hiring is based on what you've done," Karnjanaprakorn said. "In many ways, that's the new résumé."
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